Clarity and water temps important for winter saltwater fishing

By Craig Nyhus

Lone Star Outdoor News

Capt. Javi Castillo lives in Bishop because it’s halfway between Corpus Christi and Baffin Bay. Lately, he’s been braving the winds and fishing near Shamrock Island.

“I fish half the year on the Corpus side and the other half in Baffin,” he said. “I have a few areas to the north that turn on before Baffin does.”

Castillo said oyster shell and deeper water have been the keys.

“There are a few short wells out there, and the shell and deeper water is where the fish like to lay their eggs,” he said. “We’ve been catching some 7- and 8-pounders.”

Bad weather is Castillo’s friend this time of year.

“The worse the conditions — like duck-hunting conditions, the better,” he said.

Castillo checks what bait is jumping — shad or mullet — and the water clarity before determining his lure of choice.

“If the clarity is good, I go with natural colors,” he said. “I don’t choose chartreuse for big fish. Last year, we caught seven fish over 29 inches and none of them were caught on a lure with a chartreuse tail.”

Recently, he has been using the Homewrecker and the larger Down South lures.

“The Homewrecker lure is white on top and clear with silver glitter on the bottom,” Castillo said. “We’ve had to throw up to ¼ ounce jigheads because it’s been so windy.”

At Port Mansfield, Capt. Joe Prado said the trout fishing has been good between cold fronts.

“When the water warms up a little bit, it’s good,” the 22-year-old guide said. “The fish are sitting on the muddy bottoms where it’s a little warmer. When we get four or five days of warmer weather in a row, it’s better.”

Prado has been wading in about 3 ½ feet of water, throwing either soft plastics or Corkies.

“We’re not throwing many top-waters now, unless it really warms up,” he said. “You have to fish slow and twitch the lure right in front of the fish.”

In Galveston bays, the tides had dropped somewhat to more normal levels, but water levels rose with the rains the first weekend of December.

For those braving the elements, the trout were feeding, according to HotSauce and SkiffStiff on 2coolfishingforum.

HotSauce paddled his kayak to a marsh drain and threw the brightest rig he could find.

“Trout were feeding just a few feet from the freshwater surface,” he posted. “I learned that speckled trout don’t always prefer salinity over freshwater.”

SkiffStiff found trout just before the weekend rains, using a rattling cork with limetruese Assassins.

“I had two days of finding fish while ducking the winds,” he posted. “All were solid fish in the mid to upper 20s.”

Capt. Javi Castillo (361) 815-4865

Capt. Joe Prado (956) 357-1301